Review by SolidFantasy

"Counting bodies like sheep to the rhythm of the war drums"

Rage is a new IP from ID Software and one of the bigger releases of 2011. The man behind it is obviously John Carmack. This is also the part where I smack you if you consider yourself a gamer but do not know who John Carmack is. Aside from creating Doom, Quake, Wolfenstein, and more, he is a master at creating game engines and just has a pretty incredible mind overall. I didn't have high expectations from Rage but I was still let down. There are areas where this somewhat open-world shooter does shine but honestly, it's not a must play game at all let alone a must play game of 2011.

Story: This was one of the biggest worries of the game for me. Back in the 90's when story-telling in games wasn't really necessary or growing; having a game with little to no story was acceptable. We're in the year 2011 and I'm sorry, but you need a story to go along with your game-play no matter how great the game-play is (obviously fighting/sports and other genres don't apply). Rage starts off in the year 2029 and shows a meteor crashing into Earth. The character you play as was a part of the Eden Project in which 12 people each were placed underground in Arks around the world. These people were meant to rebuild society. Anyway, you wake up 100+ years later and the world is one big wasteland. There is no law and anarchy everywhere. As you step out of the Ark (you're the only one that survived) Dan (voiced by John Goodman) rescues you from a bandit attack and takes you to his home where he brings you up to speed. Basically there's a main faction called The Authority looking for Ark survivors to do experiments on. There is also a Resistance that you join up with and a few twists and turns but honestly, it's very boring. None of the characters stand out including the character you play as. Why? ID Software opted for a mute character which in this day and age is unacceptable. The only time a mute character has ever worked was in Bioshock because the entire twist was built on that. I was never a fan of mute characters and I'm not here. There's no final boss at all which is odd because the game did have a few other fun boss fights. Then there's the ending which is 15 seconds long and atrocious. That 15 second scene will make you say “what in the hell did I play this for? Rage 2 is going to be the real game”. Honestly, it seems like minimal effort was put forth here but I will admit that things like the Mad Max atmosphere, wasteland factions, and mutants are all designed neatly. Mostly though, I was underwhelmed here.

Game-play: Rage plays like your typical FPS and contains the basic control schemes. Unlike most games nowadays, in Rage you can carry every weapon at once. It's a nice touch but I was a little annoyed at how they stress looting dead bodies at the beginning of the game yet you can't loot guns. You either have to find them or buy them which totally go against the atmosphere of the game. I will admit you get most of the weapons maybe 1/3rd of the way into the game but still, that's illogical. The actual gunplay though is outstanding and the only real aspect where Rage shines. First of all I was in love with the physics from the very first bandit I killed. I shot him the kneecap and he kind of stumbled, then called me something I can't type here, and then ran at me where I put another bullet right in his dome. The way he just collapsed, and reacted to the first bullet; these are the things that don't get old in Rage. Also this game runs locked at 60 Frames Per Second so these animations including enemies jumping off of walls and doing other various parkour things… it's awesome. I shot a bandit in the ass mid-roll and was wowed while cracking up. The weapon/ammo variety in Rage is pretty good too. Yes you have your basic pistols, shotguns, and machine guns but you also get crossbows, rocket launchers, wingsticks (these things are like boomerangs with 5 blades sticking out. They're extremely awesome) and a pulse cannon. In addition to these there are numerous ammo types such as Pop Rockets for the shotgun that just cause enemies to explode into guts. There's electricity bolts for the crossbow, mind-control bolts where you can make an enemy explode. The pistol has a function that lets you shoot all 6 bullets at once. There's just a lot of variety here and it really stands out. You can also find Schematics and things to not only create various ammo and healing items out of the junk you collect but Sentry Turrets and RC Bomb Cars which are both pretty awesome. The only real issue I have here is that later enemies take a ridiculous amount of damage to kill and will melee you to death while you're unloading bullets into them. This could be due to the fact that you get a Defibrillator to revive yourself once before it charges back up. This all plays out in a QTE where you push the analog sticks in certain directions and then press L2/R2 at a specific time. At first I thought it was lame but it eventually grew on me and felt like a refreshing addition to the game-play. Also due to the different factions and mutants, there's a pretty diverse cast of enemies which is a plus.

When you're not slaughtering enemies in linear levels you will find yourself in the wasteland. In the actual wasteland there's absolutely nothing to do but destroy enemy vehicles for cash. Inside either of the two city hubs though there are various side-quests and mini-games but honestly, nothing really stands out. The biggest side-quest is probably the 26 races in the game which are either a traditional race, or something along the lines of a Twisted Metal game. There are rewards for winning but honestly, who gives a damn about upgrading the traction on an ATV you'll spend a minute driving from point A to point B on. The only upgrade I actually bothered with was something that helped me damage cars I ran into. Driving in general gets old fast and even though the vehicle combat feels great (you get a minigun on your buggy or a rocket launcher) after maybe 1/3rd of the game you will be bored and just driving to your destination ignoring enemies. The other driving side-quest was a Courier gig and I actually liked this one. Basically you just deliver packages on a set route with a limited amount of time and I had fun. There are also a few NPC side-quests such as finding items for people and other general things. A few of them do offer permenat health upgrades or Defibrillator upgrades but neither actually made a noticeable difference. There's also a Job Board which offers more side-quests such as providing sniper cover for people. None of these things really stood out though and I just always felt like “I could be doing a main mission right now”. The mini-games actually did stand out though. Aside from a very basic dice game and a button memorization music playing game, there's 5 Finger Filet which plays like a mix of Simon Says and pressing X accurately. Then there's an entire card game with 57 Collectable cards hidden throughout the game. It's a little lame how there's only 2 people to actually play against but the card game itself seems pretty in-depth. There's also a couple Multiplayer modes. One of them is just the racing stuff put into a MP format with unlockables. I did honestly enjoy it but at the same time it is a poor man's Twisted Metal and the community isn't going to last. The community for the Co-op is already dead as I couldn't even find anyone to play with but anyway, it's just co-op missions from the perspective of the various in-game characters. There's 9 and they don't seem long, but if you have a friend with Rage this is a plus. The idea of the Multiplayer modes suit Rage way better than generic deathmatches probably would.

Rage does not have a checkpoint system. I learned this on my very first death that sent me back 15 minutes. In Rage you must make your own manual saves and it gets ANNOYING. Whether you forget to save often or not is irrelevant. My issue is that it takes 30 seconds to pause and save the game. I could see if there was a dedicated button to save on the fly but there's not. Rage only autosaves after completing missions and some of these missions can last 30+ minutes. I thought things like checkpoints were a given nowadays but ID Software took a pretty lazy route here that is pretty annoying for the gamers in general. Overall you have outstanding gun-play and a fun game bogged down by a bunch of open world activities that either hit or miss and the worst checkpoint system in years. Sadly most of them miss and I wish Rage was just a linear shooter because that's where it all shines.

Graphics: It's time to get a little controversial. I want to know what game these idiotic gaming journalists are playing that say this is the best game graphically of all time. That title sure as hell doesn't belong to Rage with its hideous and obvious texture pop-in which runs rampant even on high-end gaming PC's. Some of the textures on things up close are pretty bad. I actually died once looking at a blurry pixilated texture waiting to see if it would fully render or if it just looked that crappy. I never found out as I got shotgunned from around the corner. That said; don't get me wrong, Rage does look great. It runs at 60FPS and has some incredible views. When everything is actually fully rendered the wasteland does look gorgeous. There's some awesome voice acting from the satanic faction, John Goodman really felt right for his character, and there's a pretty cool licensed song during the credits. The rest of the music didn't really grab my attention but it wasn't annoying or anything. Overall Rage does look great but there are a bunch of kinks to iron out in this new engine

Replayability: The ending is so insulting you're probably not going to want to play this 12 hour game over again, and while the Multiplayer is fun I see the community dying off quick. There's just so many big games on the horizon that offer more Multiplayer wise meaning I can't see anyone keeping Rage for the Multiplayer. The Campaign is beefy but a good 4 hours of it is doing driving related things or batches of boring side-quests. It's a good game but nothing you'll probably want to replay

Pros

Satisfying and gruesome gunplay
Awesome physics
Terrific AI
Graphics do look outstanding 75% of the time
Great weapon variety
Interesting enemies
Runs at 60FPS
Wasteland atmosphere
Engineering ammo, items, and turrets
Multiplayer that fits the game
John Goodman!

Cons

Absolutely horrible story- 1.0
A terrible 15 second ending with no final boss- .5
Uninteresting characters including a mute lead character- .6
Most side-quests including the Racing games are bland-.5
Driving and vehicular combat gets old quick-.3
Horrendous and obvious texture pop-in-.3
Some textures look like ass up close-.2
Enemies clip each other if they fall on each other-.2
Later enemies take way too much damage-.2
Game stresses looting, doesn't let you loot guns-.2
The worst checkpoint system in years-.5

Verdict: Rage is an extremely disappointing game where the main selling point; the graphics have issues. The gunplay is exhilarating but the open world content falls flat on its face and the story is simply awful. I recommend a rent just to experience the cool weapons and gameplay but that's really it. I'm going to give Rage 2 scores. As a complete package Rage is a 5.4/10. If you don't care about the game having an awful non-existent story then for you this game is probably a 7/10. If you combine those scores and average it out you get a 6.2/10 which is my final score for Rage.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 10/11/11, Updated 10/13/11

Game Release: Rage (Anarchy Edition) (US, 10/04/11)


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